Directed By: #SteveBright
Written By: #AmandaBright
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
“Inspired by, and made possible by the Coronavirus pandemic and the national lockdown it precipitated in the UK”, The Lennox Report might be one of the most joyous, uplifting and poignant pieces of indie filmmaking to come out of this strange and unpredictable situation yet.
While on a Whoosh call discussing an urgent impending deal, Kayla (Bright) and Mark (Shah) are asked to team up to get the all-important Lennox report over the line after their supervisor is suddenly taken ill and dismissed from the project. Their working together all the time then causes their friendship to blossom in unexpected ways, and also causes Kayla to evaluate some of the other aspects of her life.
As much as Zoom and other technological miracles have very much been our saviours in a lot of ways since the pandemic struck, for some filmmakers they still present limitations that can be hard to overcome.
Not here though!
The Lennox Report, above all else, is simply a fine example of how filmmakers can in fact overcome the greatest obstacles to still create something top-class. Considering both its financial and logistical restrictions, what husband and wife dream team Steve and Amanda Bright have achieved here is remarkable, an extremely well put together project that shows at all times on the screen. From building sets and dressing rooms to creating their own onomatopoeic conference call software, its production values speak to an inspired level of ingenuity, hard work and determination to make their film look and feel as good as it possibly could. Which it really does.
But not only is it a beautiful film to look at, but also to watch in terms of storytelling, with so much more going on underneath the already compelling love story at its front and centre. What Kayla and Mark’s relationship means to Kayla in particular is not simply romance, it’s a spark she didn’t know she had been waiting for, a woman incredibly unsure of herself both in appearance and identity as a black woman (a lack of self-belief exacerbated by her slightly toxic inner circle), but over the course of the film her budding relationship with Mark suddenly stirs an awakening where she really starts to accept herself, and the way the film elegantly touches on some of the real conversations Bright was having at the time around the Black Lives Matter movement gives the film an even deeper meaning still.
And this delightfully charming tale of distant lovers is driven unerringly by a pair of leads who one could not possibly root for more. Kayla is the one we see more texture and depth to, with Bright able to go through all the gears back and forth as we see Kayla struggling with her insecurities but then really blossoming and coming to life when she is talking to Mark, who is so awkwardly adorable and played so gracefully by Shah. And while Kayla’s friends may be kind of the worst people, each of the cast of those particular characters brings something a little different and interesting to the piece to really fill out Kayla’s world, but a special mention must be given to Pearl Mackie who as Kayla’s only really helpful friend Tarnia is astounding in her incredibly profound monologue that might actually be the highlight of the piece.
The Lennox Report may be a film made and inspired by the pandemic, but more importantly is exactly the kind of film we need to help us all get through it. Brilliant.
Watch The Lennox Report now on Youtube